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When Bad Things Happen to Good Women

Self-Care & Mental Health

By Carole Brody Fleet

What do you do when bad things invade your life or the lives of those you love? How do you move forward? How do you even begin to recover? What does your future look like, especially when it is most likely not the future that you planned?

Chances are that at some point in your life, you or someone you love has experienced some kind of misfortune. Perhaps you lost a loved one, a job, a home or maybe you are going through a divorce. Other "core-shakers" could be you or someone you love being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness; your financial security being threatened or destroyed; becoming a victim of a violent crime; or discovering that you have been cheated on or otherwise betrayed.

Bad things can cause us to doubt that life can or ever will be wonderful again. Bad things can do all that and more—but it doesn't have to be that way. It does not have to hurt forever. It does not have to be dark forever.

Bad things are only a small part of a life's journey—not the destination. You can turn tragedy into triumph and emerge bent but not broken.

Allow me to share the amazing story of someone who refused to knuckle under to adversity. She could have easily become a victim, but instead chose a more heroic path:

Christine King, a successful vice president of a video company, was pursuing the title of Miss Fitness USA. The training for this contest takes an extraordinary level of commitment, and Christine was in superb shape. While Jet Skiing one day, she was involved in a serious accident, resulting in a broken back and paralysis from the waist down.

She decided that if she was ever going to walk again, she would have to commit to her recovery in the same way that she had always done everything else in her life—with vigor and hope. She decided to dedicate herself to helping other people with similar injuries. She became nationally certified by the American Council on Exercise and attained the position of Post-Rehabilitative and Medical Exercise Specialist.

Christine says of her experience: "I was blessed with the gift of life, the ability to walk again and the privilege to help others. While walking with a slight limp and dealing with internal injuries is no picnic, I must reinforce that I am truly blessed."

So, how can you turn tragedy into triumph in the same manner as Christine? How do you even begin the healing process?

  • Make the choice to heal. It seems obvious, but many people do not make a conscious choice to begin the healing process. Just by being on this planet, we are entitled to every abundance, happiness and dream that we want to chase—but you have to choose to do so.
  • Take conscious ownership of your healing journey—actually own it. It belongs to you. As long as you are not coping in a destructive manner and you are not hurting yourself or anyone around you, proceed on your path.
  • Most importantly, reach out for help. My new book, When Bad Things Happen to Good Women: Getting You (or Someone You Love) Through the Toughest Times may be a good starting point. The book includes over 40 inspiring stories that show the grit and determination of each woman featured, along with advice and actionable steps that each woman took to overcome her own challenge. They are all ordinary people who did the extraordinary—and you can too.

Carole Brody Fleet is the award-winning author of the #1 ranked new release in its genre, When Bad Things Happen to Good Women … (Viva Editions, April 2016). She is also the author of Happily EVEN After ... (Viva Editions); and the national bestseller, Widows Wear Stilettos ... (New Horizon Press). A contributor to the iconic Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Ms. Fleet regularly appears as a media expert on numerous television and radio programs nationally and internationally, as well as in national and international print media. To learn more, please visit

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